By - Craig Mullins

7 Common Dog Behavior Problems and Their Solutions – Free Course by Dunbar Academy

A dog is man’s best friend, but all dog owners admit there are many bad dog behaviors. Here are the 7 most common dog behavior problems and their solutions.

Has your dog been excessively barking, chewing, howling or exhibiting any other form of bad dog behavior lately?

This could be a sign of a deeper problem.

Dog behaviors are hard to interpret, and sometimes even the best-behaved dogs can suddenly start misbehaving. The occasional whining and barking are okay, but when your furry friend overdoes it or becomes overly aggressive, you might want to take a deeper look into it.

dog behavior
dog behavior

So what exactly does bad dog behavior mean? What can you do to better control your dog’s temperament?

Here are 7 common dog behavior issues and how to address them.

1. Overly Aggressive

Aggression may not always be a full-out attack. Sometimes it’s subtle but just as dangerous.

Does your furry friend bare teeth at you whenever you try to reach for his collar? Does he get overly protective with his food bowl or toys? Is he aggressive to other dogs when you take him out for a walk?

These are all signs of aggressive behavior that you need to address immediately.

But before you think of a remedy, it’s best that you find out what’s making your dog aggressive. Illnesses such as rabies, brain tumors, and thyroid disease can trigger aggression. A dog in pain is also more aggressive, so you might want to inspect it for injuries before you think of any behavior modification techniques.

Speaking of behavior modification, the best way to go about it is to set limits and reinforce them.

Doing simple things like rewarding good behavior, evaluating your dog’s diet, and not responding to your dog’s aggression emotionally can go a long way.

However, keep in mind that trying to reinforce limits on an aggressive dog can sometimes escalate things. So if reinforcement doesn’t seem to work on your dog, contact a dog professional so they can establish the root cause of your dog’s aggression and fix it.

2. Destructive Chewing

Dog’s love to chew. There’s no way around that.

However, it becomes a problem when your dog goes around chewing important stuff in your home or things that can harm them when ingested.

Common causes of chewing in dogs include anxiety, excessive energy, curiosity, and puppy teething.

If your dog chews on everything in your house, keep it in a confined area when you’re not home and provide the right chew toys.

And if it doesn’t like a particular chew toy, keep experimenting with different toys until you find one that it likes. Also, take your dogs out for walks on a regular basis so that they can utilize their excess energy in a healthy way.

3. Excessive Barking

Barking is one of the many ways of vocal communication for a dog. It’s okay if your dog barks at strangers or to alert you that it’s hungry. However, if your dog excessively barks for no apparent reason, you should look into it.

The best way to go about it is to identify the cause of your dog’s barking problem. Some of the common causes include separation anxiety, illness-related pain, and physical injury. Dogs can also bark to mark their territory, especially if they scared or anticipating a perceived threat.

When treating excessive barking, it’s best to keep in mind that you won’t fully eliminate the vice. Rather, you’re trying to keep it under control.  A dog that’s trained to bark for food should stop after you feed it. If he doesn’t, call a vet so they can help you rule out any health complications.

If your dog is healthy and still barking uncontrollably, try enrolling it for dog behavior training. A good example of such training is the Dunbar Academy’s Course on temperament and obedience training.

4. Constant Digging

Digging is a natural dog instinct that you can’t completely shut down.

So if your dog likes to dig, don’t fight it. Instead, set aside a specific digging area on your yard and train it to only dig there. Put up a small sandbox on the designated digging spot and bury something your dog might want to dig out. If it does, give rewards.

Repeat this process until it learns to only dig at that specific spot.

If your dog is still digging indoors even after you’ve trained it, chances are it’s bored or anxious. In such cases, put it in a confined space and give it a few toys to play with. Better yet, take it for a walk in an off-leash dog park.

5. Begging

Begging doesn’t exactly come to mind when you think about common dog problems, partly because most dog owners encourage it. Yet, it can make your dog obese and cause digestive problems.

While it’s hard to ignore that longing look, feeding your dog while at the dinner table creates a long-term begging problem. The good news is, this vice is easy to fix.

Before you sit down at the dining table, instruct your dog to go to its house or another room where it won’t be able to beg. If it obeys, treat it to a reward after you’re done eating.

6. Submissive Urination

If your dog flops down and wets itself every time you come home from work, it could be a submissive urinator. It can also be a sign of an underlying health issue, so it’s wise to have a vet examine your dog before you think of another remedy.

Submissive urination is caused by anxiety. Your dog can pick on your feelings and if you look frustrated, angry or suspicious, it’ll sense it and get anxious. Thus, it’s best that you approach it in an emotionless way when you get home. Confining it in a room might also help, especially if you provide it with toys to play with.

7. Chasing After Things

Dogs love to chase small animals, people, and cars. It’s part of the way they’re wired. However, this behavior can lead to injuries and sometimes bite incidents.

You can control this behavior by keeping your dog on a leash or training it to come back when called. You might also find a dog whistle useful.

Dealing With Dog Behavior Problems the Right Way

When dealing with dog behavior issues, it’s best to keep your expectations in check. Changing a dog’s attitude and behavior takes time, so it’s best not to expect immediate results.

Have a little patience with your furry friend and it’ll get the hang of what’s acceptable behavior and what’s not. Steady and slow.

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